Dear AWR Friend,
Greetings, friends! Please buckle up for another amazing ride! It’s late at night and I can’t sleep. Let me share why . . .
The miracles keep coming one after another, and we’re being hit on every side—in a good way!
Believe it or not, next month we’re headed back to Mindoro, Philippines. I’ve been sharing with you how the 50-year war between the government and the communist rebels ended last November with the baptism of 700 assassins. Among them were top generals and leaders of the rebel forces, as well as military generals who were converted and transformed by what they witnessed.
I also shared the amazing news that those 700—now no longer called “Former Rebels,” but “Fully Reconciled” Adventist Christians—had pledged to “each one reach one” and win another 700 rebels. These additional rebels are not assassins, but people who live in the remote rebel villages and need to make a decision for Jesus.
You will recall how these fully reconciled men and women lost no time in fulfilling their pledge, and by the end of December they informed us they had another 700 ready for baptism! And here’s the kicker: Next month, on April 9, is their baptism!
But this is just the beginning of what is happening—and I can’t wait to share the latest news with you! But first, a quick recap.
EARTH’S FINAL COUNTDOWN RECAP
In case you missed it, this past November, Elder Wilson and I participated in a Philippines-wide evangelistic series that resulted in 124,000 baptisms. (Yes! The year-end reports from throughout the Philippine Islands are completed, and that’s the incredible total!) Just at our preaching site alone, in Roxas, Mindoro, on a single Sabbath, more than 2,000 were baptized, including the 700 former rebel assassins.
The evangelistic series was AWR’s Earth’s Final Countdown, with multiple preaching sites throughout the Philippines, and which also aired through our Adventist World Radio (AWR) Philippine stations. This Total Member Involvement (TMI) and AWR event resulted in one of the largest baptisms in the history of the Adventist Church. It was similar to the TMI event in Rwanda six years ago, where more than 100,000 were baptized.
These two events—in the Philippines and Rwanda—will be featured at the General Conference Session in St. Louis this coming June. God willing and travel permitting, we will have with us a group of these fully reconciled former communist rebels, and they will personally share their testimonies at the event.
A KNOCK IN THE NIGHT
Just a few days ago, our AWR coordinator in the Philippines, Pastor Robert Dulay, heard a knock on his door late at night. A young woman stood outside. When he opened the door, she introduced herself as the regional director for the legal front of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the Philippines—part of the Communist Party.
She was looking for a former comrade of hers who had quit the NPA and joined the Philippine military. He was now considered an enemy and she had been sent to kill him.
But why had she knocked on Robert’s door? She had heard of the work AWR was doing in Mindoro with our radio broadcast. This had awakened a longing in her soul, and she wanted to talk to Robert first before carrying out the assassination.
After a long conversation and the sharing of several Bible texts and promises, Robert invited her to accept Jesus. There were tears in her eyes as she expressed her desire to do so. Robert then sent word to the former comrade she had been sent to kill and asked him to come. He came, but he arrived heavily armed—ready to kill her!
Robert then spoke with both of them, urging them to put down their weapons and listen to God’s Word first. They both did so, putting down their guns and agreeing to listen. By the time the meeting was over, they had both accepted Jesus into their hearts. There were tears in their eyes as they left behind years of hatred and resentment.
And the best part? They have both agreed to be baptized together! They, too, will attend our General Conference Session, and plans are underway for them to be baptized there as a testimony of the power of God’s love and forgiveness.
When Robert called me with this news, I said to my wife, Kathy, “What a time to be alive!”
ANOTHER KNOCK IN THE NIGHT
This past December, after the leaders and assassins of the NPA army in Mindoro had surrendered and received amnesty, and after the wonderful baptismal celebration had concluded, Robert Dulay thought he could finally relax. After all, Christmas was approaching, and he had earned some downtime!
But one night, just a week before Christmas, he heard a knock at the door. To his surprise, it was a messenger who told him the following: “There are still 17 assassins in the mountains who want to surrender and give their hearts to Jesus. They were afraid to do so before, suspicious of the offer of amnesty. But now they’re ready and want to come in peace, encouraged by the reports of those who went before them.”
The assassins’ request was straightforward: “Could you come meet with us in the mountains? We want AWR to help us negotiate our surrender like you did for the rest of the NPA.”
Of course, Robert responded that he would, and they agreed on a date and time. Then he called the top military general in Mindoro, Augusto Villareal, with whom we had been working for the peaceful surrender of the 700 rebels baptized in November.
The general was less than enthusiastic about a plan that involved Robert venturing into the mountains to meet these unknown men. He immediately responded, “You can’t go. It’s a trap!”
In the past, this would have been true. Years of mistrust and hostilities were hard to erase and had done their work. But Robert felt he had no choice but to believe the message. He responded, “I have to go. They want to surrender their lives to Jesus and to the authorities, and I can’t deprive them of that.”
The general said, “If something happens to you, it will ruin my career. After everything that’s happened, and all that AWR has done to help end the conflict, it would be a tragedy if you were killed.”
But at Robert’s insistence, the general finally relented, on the condition that a GPS tracker be installed on Robert’s motorcycle. The general also called a military strike team to be at the ready in case things went south. Robert called on three people to go with him: a Bible worker, the local youth leader who has a rebel relative, and our AWR missionary working on that mountain.
In recounting the experience, Robert said, “I prayed so hard before I left the house. I told my family, ‘If I die, I die, but this is God’s work, and if God is for us, who can be against us?’ I was fully prepared to not return home alive if that’s what God was asking of me.”
After driving up the mountain to the predetermined spot—one that the military was also aware of in case they needed to intervene—Robert and his friends were given instructions to proceed to another location on foot. Despite their misgivings, they did. They weren’t sure what to expect, but when they neared the location and the 17 rebels saw them, they welcomed them warmly. They were so glad to see them!
Robert says of the encounter: “The experience was a very moving one for me in my ministry. They said they were blessed by our presence. For three hours, we exchanged ideas and I explained the peace process. I was very clear that armed conflict was not the solution, and they agreed. They asked me not to leave so we could continue in the morning. I prayed for all the soldiers and comrades, for God to bless them. They were crying and we hugged, and when we shook hands, they didn’t want to let go.”
It was getting late, and Robert sent a text message to General Villareal, telling him that all was fine. It was providential that he did, because the general said, “Five more minutes and I would have given the order to the strike team!”
“The general was so happy when he learned the meeting had gone well and we were still alive,” Robert said with a big smile. But then he sobered and said, “My eldest son did not sleep. He waited for me until I returned, and then we rejoiced together. I had also asked my prayer group to pray, and they had a thanksgiving session when they learned of my safe return.”
Now AWR is working with the authorities on reintegrating these 17 former rebels, and they’re receiving Bible studies as they prepare for their baptism in April!
But there is one more amazing detail: General Villareal will also be baptized by Elder Wilson himself during the General Conference Session in June!
A couple months ago, I shared with you our plan to take to Mindanao the same strategy we used in Mindoro and evangelize this large island. Imagine our amazement when just a few weeks ago, we received a report that the communist rebels of the New People’s Army in Mindanao, after seeing what happened in Mindoro, have agreed to surrender!
We couldn’t believe it, so we asked, “Are you saying there is now officially no more guerrilla warfare in Mindanao?”
“Not quite,” was the reply. We then got a crash course on the different factions and resistance groups in the Philippines. The New People’s Army is the communist faction, but the predominant guerrilla organization operating in Mindanao is the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and they remain very active.
We’re moving forward in Mindanao, and I can’t wait to see what God will do. His Spirit is already at work on the island and unprecedented things are happening. AWR is already well-known for what happened in Mindoro, and Muslims on the island hold Adventists in high regard. Let me share just a couple anecdotes.
Recently a new restaurant opened in Mindanao under the name “Muslim-Adventist Restaurant.” When asked to explain, the owners replied, “Adventists don’t eat pork, just like us, so this restaurant is for them, too.”
Then a Muslim mayor requested that AWR start airing in her city. “We will fully support you, because Seventh-day Adventists are welcome in our city.”
Things we have never seen before are taking place right now! Recently, a group of imams—Muslim spiritual leaders—approached AWR and our Adventist leaders on the island and expressed their desire to work with us. They said they’ve been studying the Bible and found similarities with the Quran!
Yes, God’s Spirit is preparing the way, tearing down prejudices, and seeking out those who are searching for truth. All we are called to do is share God’s last-day message—and He will take care of the rest!
TO ALL THE WORLD
There’s so much more to share! We are being hit on every side with miracles of God’s grace as we beam His Word around the world 24 hours a day, seven days a week!
Just to give you a taste of what else is happening: In 2021, there were more than 9.2 million downloads of our programs from YouTube, Spotify, iTunes and our website—and 4 million right here in the United States!
In Russia, more than 2 million people have already viewed AWR’s Unlocking Bible Prophecies series with Cami Oetman, and another 2 million in Ukraine as well! The most popular episode? The Sabbath!
The language options continue to grow. A Tibetan monk who accepted Jesus and was baptized is now recording the series in Tibetan. The top languages so far are English, Indonesian, Mandarin, Chinese, German, French and Arabic.
What a time to be alive! Everywhere, God’s Spirit is quietly tearing down barriers of prejudice and tradition and touching hearts. More and more, we will see things we have never seen before, until we see Jesus coming again! What a day that will be!
Thank you for supporting the work of Adventist World Radio. You’re a vital part of our ministry, and we could not do any of this without your prayers and generous support. It’s only as we work together that miracles happen and lives are changed for eternity.